Winter 2019

Latest USTCC Newsletter

The USTCC Newsletter is published regularly and emailed to members.  Members may access all current and past issuesafter logging in.

We welcome ideas for and submissions of newsletter articles from our members.

Email our interim Newsletter Editor at editor@tchc.infowith your articles or suggestions!

United States Tai Chi Community News | January 2019

In this issue:

Happy New Year!

by Danniel Ward-Packard, interim Newsletter Editor (Lake Geneva, WI)

The January 2019 edition of the USTCC newsletter is full of content to inspire your teaching and your practice. USTCC Board President Johnny Packard reflects on moving forward into a new year while looking back on the previous year’s successes and failures.Three USTCC Committee Chairs report on their efforts in 2018 and their expectations for the year ahead. We share more experiences from 2018 USTCC Scholars. Several members share how they embrace the spirit of the holidays with their participants. And two contributors describe how they are spreading the word about tai chi in their communities and through their travels.

Remember, there’s still plenty of time to register for the 2019 Annual Workshop in Cincinnati, Ohio, but you better hurry… classes are filling up fast!

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Moving Forward, Looking Back

by Johnny Packard, USTCC President (Lake Geneva, WI)

In Yang style “Repulse Monkey” we move forward while looking backward. It’s a tricky movement, because we can’t see what lies ahead, only what has come before. “Repulse Monkey” requires a leap of faith that the ground ahead will be firm.  So too as the United States Tai Chi Community looks back at 2018 and moves forward into 2019, our organization is taking a leap of faith. Accumulating research and growing public acceptance will insure that the demand for tai chi in our communities remains strong. However, the practice and instruction of tai chi and qigong for health improvement is rapidly evolving. For our organization to thrive, we will need to be both clear-eyed and nimble, remaining true to our values of fostering our American tai chi community while embracing the latest developments in education, accreditation, and technology.

In October of 2018 the International Medical Tai Chi and Qigong Association held its inaugural conference, at which Dr. Lam presented along with many other medical and tai chi experts from around the world. The IMTCQA’s goal is to increase the rigor of instructor certification to a level that will allow physicians to prescribe tai chi and qigong for their patients. Imagine how robust your classes and community could be if local doctors are confident enough in the safety, effectiveness, and accessibility of your instruction to refer their patients to you! You can learn more about the IMTCQA here: IMTCQA

Throughout the fall of 2018, our Communications Committee labored mightily to hire a firm to update the USTCC website. Communications Committee chair Ron Pfeiffer has all the details later in the newsletter, but one feature of the new website is too exciting not to share now. The website will feature a section open to the general public where they can search for Tai Chi classes by zip code, making it easier than ever to find USTCC member instructors! The general public will also be able to access information that promotes tai chi and qigong, and we hope that inspires them to join one of your classes.

This fall I attended my third “deer camp”. My host Brian has worked nearly thirty years in corrections. Huddled around the wood stove after a long day of freezing in a deer stand, the conversation turned to retirement and healthcare costs. Brian loves to work, but hates his job. He sticks it out, knowing that a few more years will secure a full-pension for him and continued insurance for his family. Maintaining coverage is especially important because one of his children has special needs and requires around the clock care. Like many couples raising children with special needs, the strain has also taken a tremendous toll on his marriage. In the face of his many challenges, Brian shared this: “John, no matter how hard it gets to get out of bed in the morning, I always find something to be happy about. Some days it’s only coffee. But that’s enough, and it gets me through.”

As members of USTCC we have much to be happy about as we look back on a challenging 2018, and move forward into an uncertain 2019. In defiance of the many personal, professional, and health challenges that our members have faced, we have arrived again at another new year full of promise. Remember and be thankful for the gift of Tai Chi for Health, your family, your friends and your United States Tai Chi Community, as you embrace the unknown in 2019.

There are other challenges for USTCC to confront, and I would welcome learning which are most important to you. To share your ideas and get involved with our committees, please contact me via email at

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Big Changes Ahead!

by Ron Pfeiffer, USTCC Director & Communications Committee Chair (Lake Geneva, WI)

Your Communications Committee has been hard at work creating a comprehensive and dynamic web presence, as well as rebranding USTCC as the go-to organization for tai chi instructors. One of our goals is to bring to our members a truly unique and vibrant web experience. Our new website will have many state-of-the-art features including a forum that’s interactive and an area where the general public can come and learn more about tai chi and the United States Tai Chi Community without needing to login as a member.

These improvements and upgrades will help us realize an important goal to make our services available to a wider group of people.  The tai chi instructor landscape is changing and we need to be there with the tools and current information that our members need so that they can grow their careers and their classes.

So now we have a couple of requests for you. The communications committee is in need of two or three more members to help with the workload. If you have a desire to pitch in on the evolution of your United States Tai Chi Community this might be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. The committee meets just once every couple of months to discuss the issues at hand so it’s not a huge time commitment. If you have an interest in helping our organization grow and reach its potential please contact me at

We also encourage members to send in their suggestions on what they would like to see in the USTCC website. Your ideas and suggestions are very valuable and we look forward to hearing from you!

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Research Committee Report

by Beverly Roberts, PhD, Master Trainer & Research Committee Chair (Gainesville, FL)

When Johnny Packard became president of USTCC and resigned from the Research Committee, I became committee chair, and Elizabeth Rankin replaced me as vice chair. Helmut Hirsch is also an active member of the Research Committee. We have been hard at work holding regular meetings, and making progress on two projects: 1) updating the existing USTCC abstract database and, 2) creating a web survey of our members.

Initially, a comprehensive list of tai chi research was planned. The committee hoped to insert the abstracts from the articles listed in PubMed into the database. Although they are published in PubMed from the National Institutes of Health, these abstracts are copyrighted by the authors and can only be used for individual or educational use, and not for a public database. In addition, the committee did not have the resources to review the 1500 research articles cataloged in PubMed and to write abstracts for inclusion in the USTCC database. Consequently, the committee is exploring whether compiling and abstracting a list of studies of specific TCHI programs (e.g., diabetes, osteoporosis) may be more manageable.

The mission of the Research Committee is to focus its activities on issues relevant to USTCC. The Research Committee is developing a survey of USTCC members to describe more fully who they are and what information is most useful to them. We are exploring Survey Monkey as a platform. With only 10 questions per survey in the free version, the committee is considering emailing out two to three theme-based surveys during the year to USTCC members.

Keep an eye on your inbox and the USTCC website for more news of the USTCC Research Committee’s efforts! If you have comments, questions, or ideas for the Committee, please email me at

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Scholarship Fundraising Committee Report

by Denise Murray, USTCC Director & Scholarship Fundraising Committee Chair (Lake Orion, MI)

One of the most popular events at Dr. Lam’s weekend and week long workshop is the Scholarship Fund raffle. With each raffle or 50/50 ticket that you purchase at Dr. Lam’s annual workshop you are giving a deserving instructor an opportunity to attend the week long workshop next year. The Scholarship fund raising raffle and 50/50 drawing at the 2018 Pacific Grove workshop was one of the most successful to date. We collected $2978. My goal for the 2019 workshop in Cincinnati, Ohio is to exceed $3,000.

The success of the raffle is dependent on gift donations from members like you. Or consider getting your Tai Chi for Health class involved. Ideal gift donations will have a value of $25 or more. A $25 gift donation of a coveted prize may result in an additional $100 in raffle ticket sales. Gift ideas include:

  • Quality handcrafted art, jewelry or other gift items
  • Gift Cards from popular retailers
  • Music CD’s
  • Tai Chi Rulers, Balls, Tibetan Singing Bowls

*We no longer accept the donation of books or raffle items that weigh more than 3 lbs. due to airline weight restrictions.

If you have any questions or would like to make a gift donation to the raffle contact me, Denise Murray at I hope to see you in Cincinnati!

Happy to win a prize and

support our USTCC scholars.

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Let’s Begin

by Mia Kanazawa, 2018 USTCC Scholar (Harborside, ME)

I applied for the scholarship because I live in rural Maine, and was yearning to deepen my tai chi practice. The scholarship made it possible for me to attend the week long workshop.

I learned so much from the pre-conference and the in depth Sun 73 workshop. The unexpected treasure, however, was talking with the other participants. People from different places, different professions and circumstances, had all deemed tai chi a worthwhile endeavor, and had made their way to this place to practice together.

I wrote this on the plane heading back home: “I leave the conference feeling full to the brim with gratitude and wonderful memories. I miss you all, and wish I had had a conversation with each and every one of you, because I have been enriched by all I encountered. And now, as we all head back into our regular lives…

Let’s begin.”

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An Invaluable Experience

by Nina Zeldin, 2018 USTCC Scholar & Senior Trainer (Ellsworth, ME)

It was an honor to have been able to participate in the 2018 Annual Tai Chi for Health Institute’s (TCHI) Annual Weeklong Workshop in Forest Grove, Oregon as a United States Tai Chi Community scholar. I would like to express my gratitude to the Community for making this extraordinarily enriching experience possible.

I applied for the scholarship to gain more skills and knowledge, as the more I learn the more I can share with others to help make TCHI programs grow. Sharing the wealth of TCHI programs is part of my tai chi journey, as well part of my role as Community Outreach Coordinator for Healthy Acadia, a non-profit community health coalition serving the rural Hancock and Washington counties of Maine. Since its inception in 2014, I have served as coordinator of Healthy Acadia’s Tai Chi for Health Program. To date, we have been able to offer classes in fourteen towns, introducing TCHI programs to over 500 people. Attending the 2018 Annual Workshop fueled my ability to foster improved health in the communities I serve.

Every part of the workshop was an invaluable experience. During each minute of class time, social interaction, demonstration, and speaker presentation, I was offered a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills upon which to feast. While it is impossible to single out what was most beneficial, the overarching pleasure was to be with so many people who share a passion for playing tai chi, learning, and improving health.

Inspired by what I learned during Master Trainer Ilenina Ferrier’s workshop presentation about the falls prevention gains Hawaii has made through making referrals to TCA classes, Healthy Acadia is now actively working at duplicating those efforts in the communities we serve. Since my return from Oregon I have been introducing my improved understanding of tai chi forms and principles with my students and fellow instructors in Maine, and have been busy organizing and promoting two instructor trainings and four Skill Builder workshops.

Sharing and growing is what the annual weeklong workshops are all about. I encourage all who wish to cultivate Tai Chi for Health programs in their communities to attend the Annual Workshops. It is through sharing that we all become better tai chi players, instructors, students and friends. Thus, our Tai Chi for Health family becomes strengthened.

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Feasting for Community

by Bob Casey, Senior Trainer (Midway, UT)

Over the years instructing I have come to the conclusion that most students desire collegiality along with the desire to learn the form. I have always known that food can also be a stimulus. Hence, twice a year, we have Chinese feasts, one following World Tai Chi an Qigong Day and the second in the fall usually around Thanksgiving.

This year we had the urge to feast early so arranged it around Halloween. We held and abbreviated class and then headed to lunch. Many were dressed in costumes. The feasts always include combining my classes, thus participants have an opportunity to meet others and make friendships. By feasting at a local restaurant, we also build community relations. At the conclusion we take a group shot and each participant receives a print.

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Time for Tea

by Arthur Lopez, Senior Trainer (Clovis, CA)

The sixth annual Fresno, CA “Tai Chi Tea” event was held on December 20th, 2018. At the event Fresno area Tai Chi instructors commemorated Dr. Lam’s visionary program by honoring our students. Instructors, participants, and guests enjoyed Tai Chi demonstrations, a sitting meditation, a potluck dinner, and of course tea.

After attending my first certification workshop, I started a Tai Chi program using Dr. Lam’s Tai Chi for Arthritis program. I later attended a workshop in Walnut Creek, CA where I met Dr. Lam and he announced “time for tea”, when we took a break. That gave me the idea to start this annual event where we as instructors honor our participants and each other. Naming the event was a no-brainer, as “Tai Chi Tea” seemed just right. At this event, we acknowledge our students and the gift of their participation. Without them we would not be able to teach, so we offer them our thanks.

I am energized that the program has grown from one club to five with over 100 participants led by positive and energetic instructor volunteers such as Mary Ann Villegas and Patricia Bryden. I see them as philanthropists, as they represent the true meaning of sharing what has been shared with them!

Volunteer instructor and Senior Trainer Mary Ann Villegas leads “Tai Chi for Diabetes”

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Tai Chi Tethered to a Healthier Tomorrow

by Dr. Maurice Olfus, (N. Charleston, SC)

Since 2016, tai chi teachers Ms. Shigeko Carter, Mr. Jeff Johnson and I have implemented strategies designed to showcase tai chi and qigong practice as a cost effective self-care tool.

Ample evidence demonstrates the need for an accessible self-care and prevention modality well suited to any age.

According to the Washington Post, “The United States faces a shortage of as many as 90,000 physicians by 2025… the greatest shortfall…will be in the demand for surgeons…who treat diseases more common to older people, such as cancer.”Another Washington Post article reported, “The trust fund that pays Medicare’s hospital expenses will run out of money in 2029, a year later than the most recent projection, according to a federal report. The Social Security program will remain solvent until 2034, a projection unchanged from last year”.

These reports suggest an urgent need to spread the word that tai chi is more than just an exercise just for old people. Here are examples of how we have shared this message through our teaching, the media, social events, and lectures.


Each week we teach “Tai Chi for Rehabilitation” and “Tai Chi for Arthritis and Falls Prevention” classes at three senior centers and at three 50+ communities. In addition, each month we give free “Tai Chi in the Park” lessons.

Invited to demonstrate the basic concepts of tai chi and qigong for self-care and prevention to teachers and students at a Title One public school located in Basin City, Washington, we created a tai chi lending library where a donation of $1.00 allows one to check out tai chi & qigong resources. We can barely keep up with the demand.


Benefits of tai chi for self-care and prevention were explained on a local NBC TV affiliate program.

Co-authored the book,Tai Chi for Health and Rehabilitationand donated copies to medical facilities.

Social events:

We taught tai chi self-care and prevention classes to participants on board the “New Year, New You” seven day fitness cruise.

Our annual “Tai Chi Christmas Charity Luncheon and Raffle”: 1) provides an opportunity for participants of the locations where we teach to share their tai chi self-care experiences, and 2) generates proceeds for local charities that share our vision of keeping our communities healthy.


We developed a power point presentation entitled,Tai Chi for Fall Prevention: An Examination of South Carolina’s Fall Prevention Goals and How Tai Chi is designed to Achieve Them for the Benefit of Women’s Health.

We spoke at the Hispanic Women’s Association in Greenville, SC. to present and demonstrateThe Benefits of Tai Chi to help Overall Balance and Prevention from Falling in Older Women.

To summarize, there are many ways to deliver tai chi and qigong to the public as a self-care modality. This message acts as an antidote to the unsustainability of the prevailing public health care system.

Is your Tai Chi program tethered to a healthier tomorrow for your communities? And should it be?

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Taking Tai Chi on the Road

by Shelia Harrigan, TCHI Certified Instructor (Albany, NY)

As I travel the highways and rural pathways of New York State for my job, I take take tai chi on the road along with my suitcase. After a day of driving and meetings, tai chi is a peaceful transition into the evening hours. It can be practiced in a small hotel room after moving small tables and chairs. I keep a list of forms on hand or watch an instructional video for skill building.

It would be easy to skip tai chi while traveling, but it is helpful to maintain the habit of a simple daily practice. If I only have a few minutes, it is still enough to make a difference. I often choose to concentrate on the details of “Tai Chi for Arthritis” because it is the form that I currently teach.  After doing a warm-up routine, I become aware that my mind is focused, my posture is upright, my knees and shoulders are relaxed, and I am practicing slow, continuous movements.

When vacation time rolls around, I take off with my backpack and can soon be found playing tai chi in a far away land. Last summer I practiced in a park in Croatia and in Slovenia. This fall,  I was drawn to a balcony overlooking the orange trees in a courtyard in Catania, Sicily. It was a tranquil setting for a qigong practice of open and close hands and a time to meditate while feeling at one with the world.

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Volunteer Opportunities

Newsletter Editor

The USTCC Board is seeking a permanent,independent, deadline-abiding newsletter editor.

The editor will plan, coordinate, review and edit content. The editor will be able to decide which ideas should be pursued in order to meet USTCC’s content goals. The goal is to provide exceptional, informative and engaging content.

Duties include the following:

  • Set dates for submissions and quarterly publishing. Proofread, edit as needed
  • Recruit members to submit articles
  • Collaborate with USTCC board to brainstorm content topics
  • Check all pieces for accuracy and cohesiveness
  • Crop or resize images as possible.
  • Set up a folder on the USTCC Google drive or other file storage for the completed articles and team review.
  • Publishing will be completed by Webmaster
  • Approximate hours – about 10 -15 per issue.

Contact Johnny at jpackard@tchc.infofor details.

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Did you know that our website lists Tai Chi for Health workshops and other special events submitted by our instructor and practitioner members?  Any USTCC member may use the Event Submission formon the website to add an event to our database. Once accepted, your event will be listed for viewing by other USTCC members.

You can view the full listing on the website. If you have any questions about event submissions or listings, please contact Julie Oberhaus at

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